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2009 Birds of Prey World Cup race weekend under way
Crowds gather at the base of the Birds of Prey race course each year to enjoy the weekend of world-class ski racing. Admission is free.
Courtesy Vail Valley Foundation

2009 Birds of Prey World Cup race weekend under way

By Tom Boyd

December 3, 2009 —  It’s winter … how do I know? Not because of calendar dates, almanac predictions or astronomical positioning (technically the winter solstice is still 18 days away), but because today marks the first day of the 2009 Beaver Creek Birds of Prey World Cup weekend. The significance of this now-traditional weekend does not escape notice here in Vail, and it annually marks the beginning of the true winter season. The eyes of Europe are upon us as the world’s best male skiers come to town to race one of the most challenging courses of the World Cup circuit.

At Beaver Creek, such a heralded weekend does not go without its accompanying accoutrements. Tonight’s bib presentation ceremony at 5 p.m. can be considered the first official event on the schedule, but the ceremony will also be accompanied by some serious fanfare.

The US Air Force Drum & Bugle Corps will be on site tonight as well as members of the US Ski Team who will be signing autographs for all their fans. There will be free ice skating on the Black Family Ice Rink along with hot chocolate and cookies, provided by Beaver Creek Resort. Beaver Creek has become known world-wide as a resort that knows how to throw a World Cup party.

It’s also an Olympic year, when even American eyes focus on World Cup skiing, as they do every four years. The United States could fair well in Vancouver this February, not only from Vail’s own Lindsey Vonn, but also from stars like Ted Ligety and Bode Miller.

Perhaps more than any other reason, this event marks the beginning of winter because, for the past three years, the event has coincided with several big snowstorms. By the time these races are complete, I predict winter will be in full swing and the ski season will begin in earnest.

There’s a whole lot going on during this seminal weekend so be sure to visit the Audi Birds of Prey World Cup



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